DEATH BY ICICLE

Inscription plaque under Bampton Church (East Devon) tower … Photo: WHB 2020

The above inscription reads . . .

IN MEMORY OF THE CLERK’S SON
Bless my i. i. i. i. i. i.
Here he lies
In a sad Pickle
Killed by Icicle
IN THE YEAR 1776.

DEATH BY ICICLE

A cold way to leave a life
Those many years ago,
Worse than any butcher’s knife,
The saddest way to go.

For standing looking at the tower
Of this his village church,
Caught by the sharp shard’s lethal power
He gave a sudden lurch,

And pierced to the very heart
He fell, struck by an icicle,
It must have been the devil’s dart
An ending diabolical.

For one of my previous blogs on this subject please visit . . . 

https://rolandsragbag.wordpress.com/tag/icicle/

 

Ars Poetica – A Licence to Versify

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Pen & Wash – ‘Herrick’ … WHB   (1956)

Archibald MacLeish  ends his poem ‘Ars Poetica’ with the words

“A poem should not mean
But be”

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Licence to Versify

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My poem exists
Not because
But in spite of me
A virgin birth
Wrenched from an empty womb
An absent father
Mother-smothered

A moment’s thought
spilt words
simultaneously apt
yet contradictory 
In black
On shaded parchment
Devoid of sense
Yet full of purpose
Intent on birth
But clutched by death

Flying free yet
tightly bound
A stillbirth
Suspiciously silent
A jewel in jet
Contradicting sense
By being senseless

Licensed to thrill
For good or ill

 

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Birth Of A Poem

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Pen & Wash  … WHB 2019

Birth Of A Poem

This poem
and its ill-connected words
do not
yet exist

These lines
part-formed and immature
struggle for release
from their birth pangs
strain to express themselves
in meaning
to say what they want to say

Seeking existence
from the seed of an idea
knowing what is needed
but fighting for form and feature
longing to tell its tale and sing
to live
to feel
to be vibrant
cool and yet tense

Always promising more than it can give
allowing its feelings to weep
its thoughts to shudder and provoke
to breathe a bitter breath
to both calm and to excite

Above all
striving to be worthy
in love with what it hears
bringing meaning to an idea
and from its birth
to bring into the world
an infant ode
wanting
hoping
demanding to grow into
a thing of understanding and beauty

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Vicissitude

photo of person holding a bible

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

A word arose from out of nowhere
‘Vicissitude’ it said to me;
Wrenched from somewhere deep inside, 
It felt as though it had to be. 

Long, not easy to pronounce, 
Its meaning vague, irrelevant. 
Just a word, devoid of meaning, 
Neither neat nor elegant.

But full of promise, of expectation, 
Why it appeared I could not say;
Rolled off the tongue with but a murmur;
Perhaps a poem was on its way.

When I researched and felt its import,
Then it was I realised
That words jump out and take a hold;
They do not live to be despised.

They have a life that’s all their own;
They have an ache to be pronounced, 
To demonstrate their unique depth
To live, to love, to be announced.

‘Vicissitude’ is but one word
That truly lives when it is said.
There is a joy in every word –
Heard, used, spoken, or just read.

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‘Trees’ . . . Joyce Kilmer

[  # 99 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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Tree Roots at Claremont Gardens, Surrey – WHB   ©

 

Trees

By: Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

bar-greenNotes:  (From Wikipedia):

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Joyce Kilmer (born as Alfred Joyce Kilmer; December 6, 1886 – July 30, 1918) was an American writer and poet mainly remembered for a short poem titled “Trees” (1913), which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914. Though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his Roman Catholic religious faith, Kilmer was also a journalist, literary critic, lecturer, and editor. While most of his works are largely unknown, a select few of his poems remain popular and are published frequently in anthologies. Several critics—including both Kilmer’s contemporaries and modern scholars—have disparaged Kilmer’s work as being too simple and overly sentimental, and suggested that his style was far too traditional, even archaic. Many writers, including notably Ogden Nash, have parodied Kilmer’s work and style—as attested by the many parodies of “Trees”.

At the time of his deployment to Europe during World War I, Kilmer was considered the leading American Roman Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation, whom critics often compared to British contemporaries  G.K.Chesterton (1874–1936) and Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953). He enlisted in the New York National Guard and was deployed to France with the  69th Infantry regiment (the famous “Fighting 69th”) in 1917. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet at the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918 at the age of 31. He was married to Aline Murray, also an accomplished poet and author, with whom he had five children.

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‘A Silly Poem’ . . . Spike Milligan

[  # 94 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

 

‘A Silly Poem’ . . . Spike Milligan

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Spike Milligan … 1918 – 2002

Said Hamlet to Ophelia,

I’ll draw a sketch of thee,

What kind of pencil shall I use?

2B or not 2B? 

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. . .   GENIUS POET – TRULY SILLY POEM !!!bar-yellow N.B.  2B is an indicator used in the primary UK graphite grading scale to measure the hardness of a pencil’s graphite core.bar-yellow

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Am I a POET?

 

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CALLIOPE: the muse who presides over eloquence and epic poetry; 

Am I a POET?

I’m a poet!  Who are you?
Are you a Poet, too?
 
Do I write poetry?
I say I do;
But is it poetry I write?
What say you?

 Was it by sweated brow,
By haunted vision,
I overcame my indecision?

 Did Damascene insights,
Or inspiration’s muse,
Give birth
To my poetic views?

 This begs the question
Long undecided:
Am I a Poet,
Famed or derided?


 

I wrote a poem the other day,
or was it just words
in a different order,
pretending
to have their own reason for existence?

Such feelings are
The price I pay;
when I say
I am a poet
am I honest,
do I really know it?

Addressing myself
I’ve learned to ask,
and every time I pen a poem
I set myself this very task . . .


Can I really
hand on heart
claim to be
a tiny part
of all those great
illustrious sages
who’ve coloured
life’s dramatic pages
in epics, sonnets,
ballads and odes,
presenting prose
in verbal codes,
fantasising fecund dreams,
massaging thoughts and wild ideas,
composing their Byronic idylls,
word music of the spheres?

The net result,
always the same,
I know I’ll have
no claim to fame.

Such images,
they prove to me,
that shallow thoughts,
marshmallow words,
can never in a thousand years,
however many sweated tears,
make me one of their poetic peers.

 


 

Poets Corner

 

 

W.H.Auden – The More Loving One

(No.58 of my favourite short poems)

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My drawing of Auden as he was in 1970 – 2001   ©

The More Loving One

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

W. H. Auden (1907 – 1973)

 

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Ogden Nash – The Sunset Years of Samuel Shy

 (Poem No.49 of my favourite short poems)

Jenny Kissed Me

The Sunset Years of Samuel Shy

Master I may be,
But not of my fate.
Now come the kisses, too many too late.
Tell me, O Parcae,
For fain would I know,
Where were these kisses three decades ago?
Girls there were plenty,
Mint julep girls, beer girls,
Gay younger married and headstrong career girls,
The girls of my friends
And the wives of my friends,
Some smugly settled and some at loose ends,
Sad girls, serene girls,
Girls breathless and turbulent,
Debs cosmopolitan, matrons suburbulent,
All of them amiable
All of them cordial,
Innocent rousers of instincts primordial,
But even though health and wealth
Hadn’t yet missed me,
None of them,
Not even Jenny, once kissed me.

These very same girls
Who with me have grown older
Now freely relax with a head on my shoulder,
And now come the kisses,
A flood in full spate,
The meaningless kisses, too many too late.
They kiss me hello,
Should I offer a light, there’s a kiss for reply.
They kiss me at weddings,
They kiss me at wakes,
The drop of a hat is less than it takes.
They kiss me at cocktails,
They kiss me at bridge,
It’s all automatic, like slapping a midge.
The sound of their kisses
Is loud in my ears
Like the locusts that swarm every seventeen years.

I’m arthritic, dyspeptic,
Potentially ulcery,
And weary of kisses by custom compulsory.
Should my dear ones commit me as senile demential,
It’s from kisses perfunctory, inconsequential.
Answer, O Parcae,
For fain would I know,
Where were these kisses three decades ago?

By Ogden Nash

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NOTES:

Frederic Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971) was an American poet well known for his light verse, of which he wrote over 500 pieces. With his unconventional rhyming schemes, he produced some of the best-known humorous verse. From time to time his poetry can be extremely moving and delicate with a beautiful turn of phrase – as in this particular poem where he writes of  “the meaningless kisses, too many, too late”.

 The Parcae: In ancient Roman religion and myth, these were the female personifications of destiny, often called the FATES in English.

‘Jenny kiss’d Me’  is a poem by the English essayist Leigh Hunt. It was first published in November 1838 by the Monthly Chronicle.   The poem was inspired by Jane Welsh, the wife of Thomas Carlyle. According to anthologist Martin Gardner, “Jenny kiss’d Me” was written during a flu epidemic, and refers to an unexpected visit by the recovered Hunt to the Carlyle household and being greeted by Jenny.

N.B.  I posted Leigh Hunt’s poem ‘Jenny Kissed me’  on  February 3rd, 2017.  Click this link to read it …  ‘Jenny Kissed Me’

 

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The Birth Of A Poem

[ Prompted by Davy D’s recent question on the GoDogGo Cafe website, entitled . . .    ‘Are You A Poet?’  ]

 

Poetry Breathe Life

THE BIRTH OF A POEM

 

Generated from the furnace
Of a fervent mind
A poem defines itself
As a jewel
Precisely cut
Precious and lustrous
Poised above a ring of gold
Encircling thoughts
And reflecting
In its faceted faces
Feelings and emotions
Otherwise ill-expressed

The poet
The visionary
Frames the template
Bringing life to contemplation
Substance to inspiration
A peasant in the fields of the imagination
Cultivating conceits
Ideas and concepts
Labouring at the word-face
Crafting thoughts into expressed truths
Weaving feelings into reasoned words
Bringing all to fruition in
The gemstone of creativity

 

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